The Goods: Canucks quacked
The long awaited debut of Vancouver’s veterans produced a more lethal Canucks team Wednesday night in Anaheim, although the Canucks fell to the Ducks 3-2 in their third-to-last pre-season game.
Daniel and Henrik Sedin, Alex Burrows, Mikael Samuelsson, Dan Hamhuis, Kevin Bieksa, Sami Salo, Alex Edler and Roberto Luongo were all in the line-up for the Canucks, who fell behind 2-0 after the first period, but rallied with a pair of goals in the second.
Henrik Sedin scored 4:12 into the middle stanza and Salo blasted a power play goal past Jonas Hiller 1:48 before the second recess, leaving the game even at 2-2 after 40 minutes.
The third period was dominated by the Canucks to the tune of 18 shots versus five for the Ducks; Hiller stood on his head for Anaheim, especially in the final three minutes of play with Vancouver first on a single power play that turned into a 5-on-3 that turned into a 6-on-3 with Luongo on the bench.
This may have been the first pre-season action for many veterans, but they didn’t show a lot of rust in a well-played road game.
Vancouver’s approach of playing the team’s leaders in just two of the eight pre-season games was criticized by some and applauded by others, including Burrows.
“It’s been different from previous years, but it was a short summer for everyone and to make sure that we were sharp we had some good practices last week and good workouts, but it’s nice to finally play a game and we’re anxious for the season to start,” said Burrows, who filled in for Ryan Kesler on the team’s first power play unit.
“Kes did such a great job last year at being the net front guy, I’m sure when he comes back I’ll be more than happy to give him that spot because he did such a great job. For now I’m trying to help out and we got the goal there.”
Burrows provided a big screen on Salo’s rocket, so it’s so far, so good in his new role.
Victor Oreskovich had the second assist on Vancouver’s opening goal and for stretches in the second period he was in beast mode making plays all over the ice.
In his fight to again land a roster spot with the Canucks, Oreskovich, who has played in every pre-season game, took a step forward on this night.
“It’s only four games in, but I’m happy with the way I’ve played so far,” said Oreskovich. “I think I’m making good plays with the puck and I’m trying to be as physical as I can. As long as I’m doing my best, that’s really all I can ask for.
“It was a short summer, but it’s still summer so the first couple of games are always an adjustment and now I’m starting to feel much better out there.”
Luongo stopped 19 of 22 shots on the night, including 15 pucks in the first 40 minutes. He’s scheduled to start one of Vancouver’s final two remaining pre-season games.
The Canucks are back at it Thursday night in San Jose where they’ll face the Sharks at 7:30 p.m. PST.